A behavioral theory of leadership supports the notion that no one is born with leadership skills, but rather everyone is capable of learning them. The theory argues that the leader’s behavior, rather than their natural predisposition, is responsible for their success at their job. It is a commonly used theory, often used in high-position jobs, to determine if a person is successfully performing their leadership duties. To do so, it sets a system of observation and evaluation to grade a leader’s work and abilities and determines if they make for an effective leader.
This theory divides leadership styles depending on the way they approach leading and managing a team. These styles depend on the leader’s priorities: whether they are people-oriented, task-oriented, authoritarian, or lax (Nawaz & Khan, 2016). Each style has its own benefits and negatives, and its effectiveness relies on the context of a task, team, and goal. The benefit of the behavioral theory of leadership is that it categorizes the types of leadership styles for easy recognition and application. It became clear what type of leader a person is, and what their strong and weak points are in terms of leading as well. On the other hand, this theory does not focus on providing universal answers to the situation, as no leadership style is fit for all. Therefore, it becomes a matter of trial and error to see what style fits a specific situation.
A behavioral theory of leadership is a great start for any beginning leader, as it provides simple yet detailed information on how a leadership style can affect one’s work. A social work practitioner can learn whether their leadership style is beneficial for work or needs to change. For any practitioner, it is a strong motivator to focus on improving their leadership skills, as the theory supports the notion that anyone can learn to become a better leader with knowledge and practice. It equally values the efficiency, fair treatment, and social aspect of leadership without sacrificing any of the elements of work.
Nawaz, Z. A. K. D. A., & Khan_ PhD, I. (2016). Leadership theories and styles: A literature review. Leadership, 16(1), 1-7.